UN/EDIFACT - The International EDI Standard

Messages developed under UN/EDIFACT (United Nations Rules For Electronic Data Interchange for Administration, Commerce and Transport) are intended for both national and international EDI applications. Messages considered suitable for implementation are known as United Nations Standard Messages (UNSM) and are published in UN/EDIFACT Directories. Messages in Development (MiDs) are not included in published Directories but are made available by the UN for information only.  A comprehensive list (Henry's Yellow Book) is compiled periodically of both UNSMs and MiDs.

Resources for developers and users are available. Relevant documentation such as the UN/EDIFACT Message Design Rules and the UN/EDIFACT Message and Code Handbook (Best Practices for Designers) can be downloaded from the ASC/X12 Entry Point web page.   Data carried within UN/EDIFACT messages is frequently drawn from international standards, such as ISO standards or the UN/CEFACT trade facilitation Recommendations and Code Lists (e.g., country codes and international currency codes).

Definitions relating to the syntax rules are found in the UN/EDIFACT Syntax Rules (ISO 9735). UN/ECE representatives and ISO TC 154 representatives cooperate in syntax development and publication through the Joint Syntax Working Group (JSWG). Versions 3 and 4 of the syntax are currently in use.  The US maintains a Technical Advisory Group (TAG) to TC 154.

The UN/EDIFACT Working Group (EWG), one of the empowered bodies under UN/CEFACT, is responsible for UN/EDIFACT development, maintenance and promotion.  The EWG has designated various organizations to operate an Entry Point within their service area to collect Data Maintenance Requests (DMRs) against UN/EDIFACT Directories.

The Entry Points are:

Within the United States, ASC X12 has been granted authority by the Head of Delegation to CEFACT to appoint experts to the CEFACT empowered groups.  Prior to April 29, 1998 the Pan American EDIFACT Board (PAEB), representing one of the six regions under the regional Rapporteur structure, was the official coordinating body of UN/EDIFACT activity in North and South America.